Doctors issue hot weather health advice

Thursday, July 16, 2020

BRIDGEPORT, CT (July 16, 2020) – With the hottest days so far this summer heading into Connecticut during the next few days, doctors at Bridgeport Hospital are sharing advice to keep people safe and healthy. The combination of warm temperatures expected to reach the low- to mid-90’s plus high humidity may push the heat index into the triple digits.

“People have to take the initiative and protect themselves from the heat,” said Rockman Ferrigno, MD, Bridgeport Hospital’s chair of Emergency Medicine. “The elderly and very young are the most vulnerable.” Dr. Ferrigno added that heat stroke is most often seen in the elderly during and following a heat wave as well as athletes participating in extreme heat. Fortunately, heat waves often come with some advance notice and people need to prepare and be reminded of the dangers.

“This short cluster of very hot and humid weather is the first so far this summer and likely not the last so everyone should take precautions,” Dr. Ferrigno said.

While summer is a fun season with a lot of outdoor activity, doctors caution people not to exert themselves too much in hot weather. Bridgeport Hospital’s emergency department offers advice on how to avoid heat-related illnesses:

  • Wear light-colored, absorbent, loose-fitting clothing and a hat.
  • Drink plenty of water and refrain from alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration. If you are exercising, drink about a quart of liquids an hour to replace essential fluids.
  • Stay in cool, shaded areas when possible, and if you must be in the sun, protect your skin with a sun block.
  • Cancel or postpone athletic activities during periods of high heat and humidity.
  • When heat-related illnesses occur, know the signs, so you can help administer first-aid.

“You might be suffering heat-related illnesses if you suddenly feel weak, sweat excessively, and experience leg cramps, nausea or vomiting,” said Dr. Ferrigno. “It is very important to treat minor symptoms appropriately to avoid a more serious heat stroke. Drinking fluids is crucial. If the heat illness is so severe that the person is unable to drink, they should immediately seek care at an emergency department.”

As the use of pools increases, these safety tips should also be followed:

  • Regularly check gate latches and make sure they are secure and safe.
  • Never allow children to play in a pool area unsupervised. Remove all toys or anything a child might want to retrieve from the area.
  • Post CPR instructions and 911, police, fire and rescue numbers in the pool area.
  • Keep life-saving equipment, such as a life-preserver, in the immediate pool area.
  • Have a telephone handy and resist the urge to use your phone while children are swimming. Your attention should never be diverted from watching those in the pool.
  • Make sure all doors and gates that lead to and from the pool area are locked and secure when the pool is not in use.

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.

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